A Trip to Baguio City: Summer Capital of the Philippines
Sunday, August 14, 2016
Baguio City is known as the summer capital of the Philippines. Found almost 250 kilometers away from Manila, many people seek refuge here, away from the exhausting summer heat or to find adventure far from the bustling metro streets. However, aside from the usual Baguio adventures, you can tweak your itinerary and be a little adventurous with two less known (yet worthy) places to visit.
How to Get There?
The trip usually takes about five to six hours from Metro Manila. There are a lot of various bus lines/companies which are found in Pasay City and Cubao, Quezon City. These bus lines make commuting to the city more convenient. You may also opt to take the night trip so that you will have a relatively faster travel (less traffic jam). For the night trip it usually takes five to six hours, but for the day trip, it could be up to seven hours.
Many people usually visit Baguio for its famous cool, refreshing breeze and tasty strawberries. Why not make a different turn and discover the city’s rich art, culture, and even mining history?
Get a Glimpse of the Local Life
Even the view from outside leaves a great impression.As the city proper seem too urban for some tourists, exploring nearby areas to see the traditional means of life that the locals have is the next best thing to do. For instance, many people can visit theTam-Awan Village and see some of the indigenous groups’ ways of living. There are a lot to learn and appreciate throughout this trip.
Located in Pinsao Proper, it seems like a 3D Museum where anyone gets to have a first-hand encounter with the province’s arts and crafts. Visitors enjoy the sight of the indigenous people’s house replicas and other artworks made by local artists. The Village has seven Ifugao houses and two Kalinga houses. If you wish to find more interesting pieces or even join in an event, check their website for updates as they also host exhibits and other special programs.
The experience may be simple but it is worthwhile. Some exhibits or installations are even placed on the top of the mountain. It’s recommended to wear your trusted shoes to survive the climb. There are set trails, but some are still too rugged, so better be ready and keep yourself safe.
Balatoc Mines Tour
If you are a little more adventurous and you would like to try something close to nature, choose to spend a whole morning for a memorable and interactive Balatoc Mines Tour. This is the first and only mining underground tour in the Philippines (as what they claim). You will learn more about the history of the mining industry in the province up close.
Baguio started out as a mining town before it became the famous Summer Capital of the Philippines. Then, just almost 30 minutes from the city proper, you will find Itogon, Benguet. The mining in the Balatoc Mines has been running for decades, but they only started offering guided tours in 1997.
Experience being a miner even for just a couple of hours. Complete with the hard hat, boots, and a tour guide, walk through the mine and see the old equipment used for mining. There is also a small museum in the area where you can check on the history of the Balatoc Mines. This is sure to be a new adventure that only a trip to the underground wonder can lead you. Feel that nostalgic ambiance as you walk through the rail. Once you enter the mine, there are even some actual demonstrations of the drilling and the heart-pounding dynamite explosion during the tour. So, make sure that you are ready for the dark-lit rail walk and some unforgettable sights. Don’t miss out on the chance to hear that remarkable vibration of the dynamite exploding through a small yet carefully made hole.
Don’t Forget the Pasalubong
In the Philippines, a trip is not complete without bringing home pasalubong. Filipinos have a tradition of bringing food or any other trinkets as souvenirs. The products that they bring are called pasalubong. It is not a surprise that when Filipinos travel anywhere within or outside the country, they are sure to bring more stuff back home because of the addition of those pasalubong. These treats are later distributed to relatives, friends, and colleagues. Due to this Filipino practice, many tourists destinations offer products that vary from sizes, styles, made, or even taste.
With Baguio City being a popular tourist destination, there are a variety of products to look through. It can be from sweet, delicious treats, fresh produce, or hand-made products. Here just some of them that you can check when you visit the city.
What is a sought-after product here?
Even strawberry taho!
- Taho is a soy-based food locally produced in the Philippines. It is usually mixed with sugar syrup, but in this city, they introduced natural strawberry syrup instead.
Because of the north’s cooler weather, it is a good place for fruits like strawberries, vegetables, and flowers. With this, the strawberry farms became popular destinations in Baguio because people can experience picking their own strawberries to eat or bring home.
The strawberries in the city are also relatively cheaper than the ones we find in the market. There is a large supply of strawberries in the area, so they tend to compete with other businesses. So, you can get delicious finds. However, if you want to bring some back to Manila, you have to prepare a proper storage for your fresh finds.
There’s More To See
These are just some of the few additions that you might add to your itinerary when you visit Baguio City. Many Filipinos come here during the summer season because of the city’s cooler weather. However, you can visit this place anytime. If you are even exploring some wonderful places in the country, maybe you can find some interesting new sites as recommended by the country’s Department of Tourism “It’s More Fun in the Philippines”
Enjoy your next travel to the summer capital and you can even get a chance to catch some beautiful shots and make your own It’s more Fun posters. The beauty of nature and generosity of the people here would surely inspire you to see more and experience a whole new adventure. There’s even one more trip I had to this city recently and I traveled to discover new delicious food as well as breathtaking sites which I’ll write about the next time.